AXA Shield is one of 7 Integrated Shield plans in Singapore, which are designed to supplement your existing MediShield Life coverage.
As you might know, buying health insurance is one of the most important things you can do as a working adult here. Medical care in Singapore is notoriously expensive, and relying on MediShield Life could lead to some nasty surprises due to its many limits and exclusions.
Let’s find out more about how AXA Shield plans stack up.
What are Integrated Shield plans?
First, a word about Integrated Shield plans: These are health insurance policies that are designed to work hand-in-hand with the MediShield Life coverage that Singaporeans and PRs already have.
Instead of duplicating the protection offered by MediShield Life, integrated shield plans act as a supplement, offering coverage in areas that MediShield Life does not and raising claim limits.
For instance, MediShield Life covers up to Class B2 wards at public hospitals but not B1, A or private hospitals. It also does not offer coverage for costs incurred before and after hospitalisation, which is worrying as these costs can sometimes exceed costs incurred while hospitalised.
That’s where Integrated Shield plans come in. They offer coverage for pre- and post-hospitalisation costs, higher class wards like Class B1, Class A or private hospitals, and other costs like ambulance fees.
AXA Shield Integrated Shield premiums
|$310 (MediShield Life) + $156 = $466
|$310 (MediShield Life) + $286 = $596
* For Singapore citizens aged 35
AXA Shield comes in two varieties: Plan A (covers up to private hospital wards) and Plan B (up to Class A wards in public/restructured hospitals).
There’s also a Standard plan, but that’s not a significant improvement over MediShield Life — it doesn’t cover pre- and post-hospitalisation costs, for example — so we won’t consider that.
AXA Shield’s Plan A is one of the cheaper private hospital Integrated Shield plans out there, and offers very good value for money.
Meanwhile, AXA Shield Plan B is considered relatively expensive compared to the other Class A plans, but offers generous pre- and post-hospitalisation coverage.
You can use MediSave to pay for part of your Integrated Shield plan premiums, up to your annual withdrawal limits. The remainder has to be paid out-of-pocket on an annual basis.
AXA Shield Integrated Shield plans
|Annual coverage limit
AXA Shield has one of the most generous pre- and post-hospitalisation coverage on the market. While others offer as little as 90 days and 180 days respectively, AXA Shield covers up to 180 days (pre-) and 365 days (post-hospitalisation).
However, the total annual claim limits are on the low side. Before you sign up, note that other Integrated Shield plan providers like AIA and Aviva cover roughly double that of what AXA Shield covers ($1 million and $2 million for Class A and private hospital plans).
AXA Shield also offers its policyholders discounted consultation fees at AXA’s healthcare panel. It costs $10 for a GP consultation, $100 for a specialist, $130 for physiotherapy and $15 for dental consultation.
AXA Shield Integrated Shield rider: AXA Enhanced Care
AXA Shield can be beefed up with an AXA Enhanced Care rider in order to limit your deductible and co-insurance amounts. For a 35-year-old, it costs $200 (Plan B) or $312 (Plan A) a year, payable in cash only (no Medisave).
AXA Enhanced Care limits your co-insurance portion to 5% and your deductible to $0 when you use public/restructured hospitals or healthcare providers on AXA’s panel of specialists. Co-payment is capped at $3,000 per year.
If you get AXA Shield without the rider, you’ll have to pay up to $3,500 deductible (chargeable the first time you get hospitalised in a policy year) + 10% of the total hospital bill.
If you do get the rider, you need only pay 5% of the total hospital bill, capped at $3,000 a year.
With the AXA Enhanced Care rider, you can also receive coverage for planned overseas treatment, as well as a wide range of situations like emergency outpatient treatment (which would not usually be covered as it does not require an overnight hospital stay).
How does AXA Shield supplement MediShield Life?
AXA Shield supplements MediShield Life by adding to its existing cover.
For instance, MediShield Life limits you to Class B2 and Class C wards at public hospitals, but you’ll be able to stay in Class A wards at public hospitals with AXA Shield Plan B, or private hospitals with Plan A.
Another important area of coverage is pre- and post-hospitalisation cover, which is not offered by MediShield Life. Tests leading up to a diagnosis can be very expensive, as can follow-up consultations and rehabilitation after you are discharged. These are all covered by AXA Shield provided they fall within the pre- and post-hospitalisation coverage periods.
Should you get AXA Shield?
AXA Shield plans offer very good value for money, with extensive pre- and post-hospitalisation cover at a relatively low price.
Compared to other insurers offering similar coverage, such as AIA, AXA Shield’s advantage is that you do not need to use one of the hospitals on their panel in order to qualify for the full pre- and post-hospitalisation duration.
We also like the discounted consultation fees at AXA panel GP clinics, as it’s a nice value-added perk that you can make use of even if you don’t get hospitalised.
But do note that the AXA Shield’s annual policy claim limits are among the lowest on the market. You could potentially get twice the coverage limit at a slightly more expensive premium.
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Photo by Owen Beard on Unsplash